Hugh Pickens writes "The Hollywood Reporter reports that more than 20,000 individual movie torrent downloaders have been sued in the past few weeks in Washington DC federal court for copyright infringement and another lawsuit targeting 30,000 more torrent downloaders on five more films is forthcoming in what could be a test run that opens up the floodgates to massive litigation against the millions of individuals who use BitTorrent to download movies. The US Copyright Group, a company owned by intellectual property lawyers, is using a new proprietary technology by German-based Guardaley IT that allows for real-time monitoring of movie downloads on torrents. According to Thomas Dunlap, a lawyer at the firm, the program captures IP addresses based on the time stamp that a download has occurred and then checks against a spreadsheet to make sure the downloading content is the copyright protected film and not a misnamed film or trailer. "We're creating a revenue stream and monetizing the equivalent of an alternative distribution channel," says Jeffrey Weaver, another lawyer at the firm. The difference between the MPAA's past approach and the new one being offered by the US Copyright Group is that the MPAA took a less targeted approach going after a smaller sampling of infringers in a single suit for multiple films, to send a message. In contrast, the US Copyright Group is using the new monitoring technology to go after tens of thousands of infringers at a time on a contingency basis in hopes of coming up with the right cost-benefit incentive to pursue individual pirates. "If this story is correct, it's the latest evidence that copyright law has become unmoored from its foundations," says the EFF. "Copyright should help creators get adequately compensated for their efforts. Copyright should not line the pockets of copyright trolls intent on shaking down individuals for fast settlements a thousand at a time.""